There has always been a certain aura of weirdness surrounding the Atlanta hip-hop scene. A fair share of no-nonsense guys like Young Jeezy and T.I. have come from the city, but the scene has been mostly defined by genre-expanding music and colorful personalities like Andre 3000 and Young Thug. So when Rome Fortune is so commonly described as a weird Atlanta rapper, it means the man is way out in left field. In Fortune’s second strong mixtape of 2014 Small VVorld, he celebrates the weirdness that has separated him from everybody else in the city.
What pulls Small VVorld apart from even Rome Fortune’s earlier efforts is the production. The original Beautiful Pimp was handled by the likes of Southern mainstays like Childish Major and Dun Deal, and he followed that up with the more layered, spacey beats of CitoOnTheBeat for Beautiful Pimp II. Rome takes that even further here by recruiting producers like cloud rap hero Suicideyear, Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds, indie electronic mainstay Four Tet, and even EDM festival favorite Bassnectar. A lesser artist would be intimidated by all the different styles of these producers, but Rome Fortune rises to the occasion and turns the different beats into his own. Every song here blends perfectly with his rapping and not once does it sound like he simply bought a beat from somebody and just laid some rhymes over it. Instead, everything sounds crafted specifically to his style and works wonderfully.
Small VVorld is just as diverse in its lyrics and rapping as it is in its production. Rome Fortune uses different deliveries and styles on almost every song. “No Evidence” in particularly shows his skill, with Rome providing a silky-smooth hook and rough, aggressive rapping seconds apart from each other. The tape goes from light-hearted on “5 Second Rule,” where Fortune compares a girl’s ass to a piece of dropped food, to introspective on “Flashback,” which is made even more powerful by a surprisingly restrained Bassnectar beat.
Rome Fortune’s biggest strengths are found in his charisma and ability to write catchy, memorable songs. After an initial listen of Small VVorld, it’s extremely difficult to not keep it on repeat. Everything about the project sticks like glue. Songs like the spacey “Workin Gal” and bouncy, iLoveMakonnen-assisted “FriendsMaybe” are bound to be stuck in listeners’ ears for weeks on end. Humming the hooks or rapping lines about broke-ass bitches under your breath become increasingly common as time goes by. Rome Fortune may be viewed as “weird” by many, but his charm and skill seep through Small VVorld and are sure to win over even the most skeptical of listeners.